Fruit of the Spirit: Love

Love is such a big topic. It is the whole of God expects of us; everything we think, say or do comes back to love. That's probably why it's the first Fruit of the Spirit mentioned. If you can't show love to *every*one you come in contact with, you missed out on Who God is. Race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, political affiliation, etc.—these are not reasons to stop loving people. I'm not talking about shallow love, I'm talking about real love. I'm talking about "I would give my life to save this person" love, because that's what Jesus did for each of us. No matter how we look, no matter the decisions we've made, He extends His love to *every* human being. When we begin to produce the Fruit of the Spirit, we will extend our love to *every* human being.

Introduction

The Fruit of the Spirit are listed in Galatians 5:22-23. Throughout the Bible, people are compared to vines bearing fruit with the rule being that a good vine bears good fruit and and a bad vine bears bad fruit. The fruit we bear show our allegiance to Christ (or rebellion against Him). As such, we are told exactly what fruit we should bear once we have surrendered to the Holy Spirit.

On the Podcast

The first season of the podcast is dedicated to spending more time thinking about these fruit and how they are at work in our lives. The first fruit listed is love and the corresponding podcast episode is 1.6 - Fruit of the Spirit: Love, featuring Devin is already posted. In that episode a friend of mine and I discuss everything from love languages, how our parents' relationships have effected us, to TV Shows like "Married at First Sight."[1] We talked so much about love that I had to split the episode into two episodes! So there's also 1.7 - Love and Dating, featuring Devin, which focuses specifically on dating. Despite all of that talking, I felt like there was so much more to say!

Background and Facts

Ok, so in hindsight, I really wish I'd done this for the first episode, but it's too late now. At least I know now that I want this section in my future episodes.

Anyway, the Greek word that is translated as love in Galatians 5:22 is ἀγάπη (agapé). I'm sure you've heard of agapé love before, it's a very popular topic within the Christian community. Sometimes this word is translated as charity instead of love, but it appears approximately 116 times in the New Testament and is specific to a Biblical definition of love. Secular authors used the word ἀγάπησις.[2] The Hebrew equivalent is אַהֲבָה (ahabah) or אָהַב (aheb), which are masculine and feminine words used to describe love in the Old Testament. Together they occur approximately 249 times.[3]

These words are not casual words to simply toss out, but speak to the actions in which we should take when we profess to love someone. After reading many of the verses in which these words appear, I noticed that almost all of the occurrences also speak to the way a person is being treated. Loving someone is coupled with treating them justly, providing for them when they are in need, and being will to make a sacrifice for them.

Love's First Appearance

The first time love is ever mentioned in the Bible is in Genesis 22:2. This is significant because it is in reference to God commanding Abraham to offer Isaac as a burnt offering. Most people get tangled in the confusion of why God would tell Abraham to sacrifice his son, especially when God affirms that He does not support child sacrifices (Deuteronomy 18:10; 12:31; Jeremiah 7:31). What we should really focus on, however is the fact that this whole situation points forward and parallels the sacrifice of Jesus.

Abraham is the first patriarch of the Israelites. Though the Messiah is first prophesied in Genesis 3, and clearly is destined to come through the line of Noah, it is to Abraham that God strikes up the covenant of circumcision and promises to bring about a nation that would belong to God. This is basically the beginning of God rebuilding His kingdom on Earth. As such God gives us this prophetic act which points to His overall plan for Salvation. Abraham and Sarah had been without child for so long that they were considered too old to have children. Yet, God had blessed them with Isaac. Although Abraham had Ishmael with Hagar, Isaac was the only legitimate heir to Abraham's legacy. Similarly, although Adam was a child of God, the moment he chose to disobey God he lost his inheritance. Jesus is the only legitimate heir to the throne. The same love spoken of in Genesis 22:2, is what God the Father feels toward the Son. The major difference is that, as always, God does not ask us to bear such heavy burdens. He did not require Abraham to actually kill his son, rather He gave us a memory to reflect on so that when we think of the Father allowing His only begotten Son to be sacrificed, we will understand how much He loves us.

The Whole of the Law

The whole of God's law can be summarized by love—love for God and love for man. Jesus points this out in Matthew 22:36-40. Clearly, if you love someone you won't kill them or steal from them, but much of the nuances of the law given to the people by Moses, covers stuff that should be automatic when acting out of love. If I accidentally damage you property, the loving thing is to restore it; I shouldn't need a law to force me to do this.

What's more is that God says something along the lines of "if you love me you'll keep my commandments" too many times to count. In the podcast I touched on this sentiment slightly when I brought up the fact that when you love someone you're willing to do things you wouldn't normally do or listen to things you wouldn't normally be interested in. Many people get tangled up with the commandments and believe they can ignore them, but Jesus commands us to follow His commandments (John 14:15)—the greatest of which is love (Mark 12:28-31). We don't do these things to earn eternal life; we do these things because we love Him, we love that which He loves, and we desire to make Him happy.

Showing Love Everyday

Photocredit: Unsplah.com/Tyler Nix
So, for the next week, each day let's stop and think about how we showed love to people throughout the day. Think about the 5 love languages... Did you do something to help someone out? Did you get someone something to make their day? Did you give someone words of encouragement. Did you give someone your undivided attention for some quality time? Did you give someone a hug when they really needed it? How are we showing love everyday to everyone we come in contact with?

References

  1. "Married at First Sight". IMDb; visited February 2019
  2. "26. agapé". Bible Hub; visited February 2019
  3. "160. ahabah". Bible Hub; visited February 2019
  4. "157. aheb". Bible Hub; visited February 2019

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About

Author Image Author Image I love reading the Word of God. With prayer God's Word reveals so much: from comfort to temperance, from perspective to affirmation. Digging into the depths of the Word, cross-referencing history, language and time differences, is a passion of mine. In March of 2015 I decided to go back through the Bible doing an in depth study on each section I read. Eventually I decided to share my journal of notes as I partake in this journey. I hope you are blessed by God and inspired to pursue a deeper relationship with Him. I love reading and learning about God, nature, and science. I am interested in how it all connects. The Creator's fingerprints are all over his creation. We can learn so much about Him and how we came to be by exploring the world around us. Join me as I explore the world and draw closer to the One who created it all.
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